• Casual Family Home

Family Home


After 30 years, three children, and 10 grandchildren, John and Sandy were ready to find a new home. When the right fit failed to materialize in the local housing market, they chose to purchase a lot and build. With several architects in mind, the couple reached out to AMDG, almost immediately felt a connection, and selected them as their architect. The design team listened carefully and understood their vision: a high-end, single-story home that would look beautiful, feel casual, and make gathering with family and guests easy.

casual family


Heading into the design process, John and Sandy expected to see exterior sketches and elevations, then flesh out details of the living space from there. Instead, AMDG carefully worked through the layout of the home’s interior—the size and proportion of the rooms and how they would flow, one into the next, in order to meet the specific living and entertaining needs of its client. The team asked questions, took pictures, and measured the couple’s current home and even their cottage. No detail could be overlooked. The process was thorough, at times achingly so for John, who couldn’t wait to see the plan for the exterior.


Every home begins with a vision. John and Sandy knew they wanted a traditional feel, high ceilings, a courtyard for entertaining, space for adults to relax and come together, as well as dedicated spaces for grandchildren. While these were straightforward requests, getting the home to meet or even exceed these goals required clear communication and thoughtful exploration.

In this case, John and Sandy participated in several AMDG design visioning sessions. The couple particularly enjoyed beginning each session with the previous session’s requests accounted for and visualized by the design team. They also appreciated the flexibility of being able to see walls added or moved in real time as they worked. The couple could then take sketches home for further reflection.


To give John and Sandy new ways to visualize the design of their next home, the AMDG team equipped them with an innovative pair of VR goggles. This allowed them to virtually walk through each room of the home, turn corners, take in sightlines from room to room, and even head out onto the deck. For a client eager to experience the space, the technology was just what they needed to bring the design to life.


For each of John and Sandy’s design sessions, AMDG also convened the construction and interior design teams. This way, each discipline could ask questions and better understand the couple’s vision. John and Sandy could also get a sense of what was possible, and be able to gauge potential cost implications of their design ideas on the spot. As the couple likes to say, there were no surprises.


Near the top of John and Sandy’s wish list was an outdoor courtyard. Accessible from the main living area, the expansive heated deck gives John a spot to grill and family members outdoor space to gather. To prevent late-night gatherings from disturbing anyone’s sleep, the AMDG team strategically situated the courtyard away from guest bedrooms.


Details have a way of standing out. For John, it’s the home’s retaining wall. At first he didn’t care for its large proportions or using traditional landscaping materials. Hearing his wishes, the design team created a tiered wall, then had it constructed entirely out of stone. Today, John jokes that he’s so in love with it he could practically pull up a chair and spend hours looking at it. Other standout details include the home’s generous roof overhangs and how the curved entryway roof continues into the foyer. The couple also appreciates how the height and dimensions of the home blend in with neighboring homes.

“AMDG took the time to get it right. There were times when we felt like the process was overkill, but the end result was well beyond our expectations. AMDG designed and managed everything down to the smallest detail. This process provided us with an experience like no other and a home exactly like we imagined for our family, comfortable, casual and inviting. They made our dream come to life.”

-John and Sandy, Homeowners


In ways both significant (achieving ADA compliance) and subtle (wall openings that allow natural light to stream into adjacent rooms and the incorporation of a hand-made mosaic created by Sandy’s father 60 years prior), John and Sandy now have their “20-year home.” It wasn’t easy saying goodbye to their previous home, which held three decades of memories. But, with its tight quarters and no formal dining room to speak of, it was finally time to move on. What they got in return is the perfect home for creating new memories, honoring old ones, and a space that makes holidays with children and grandchildren special in ways even they couldn’t have imagined.